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U.S. duos Davis and White, Shibutanis rule short

Americans finish 1-2 in short dance at NHK Trophy; Ilinykh, Katsalapov finish third

Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White are one step away from the Grand Prix Final.
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White are one step away from the Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)

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By International Skating Union
(11/23/2012) - Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White took the lead in the short dance at the 2012 NHK Trophy. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. and Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov followed in second and third place, respectively.

Davis and White put out a characteristic march, waltz and polka to the ballet Giselle. The 2011 world champions earned Level 4s for their rotational lift and twizzles and Level 3s for the side-by-side circular footwork and first polka pattern. The 2012 world silver medalists scored 69.86 points.

"We went out on the ice, talking about how we really like to use this program to make the audience feel good, and it makes us feel good," White said. "It's a really enjoyable program to skate; obviously, the music and choreography go so well together. It's a lot of fun. We wanted to show that and experience it ourselves. I think we really accomplished that today.

"Technically, not as strong as we like," White continued. "Obviously, we always want to get perfect levels across the board, so we're going to get home and work on that."

Shibutani and Shibutani opted for a march, waltz and polka to South American music and completed Level 4 twizzles and a Level 4 lift, while the polka sequences merited a Level 3 and Level 2. The 2011 world bronze medalists picked up a new season's best with 60.84 points.

"We are happy with our performance at this point of the season," Maia Shibutani said. "It felt really great out there. The crowd was so supportive. Considering that we had only one week since [Rostelecom Cup], we've made a lot of great changes and improvements. We feel like the performance was a lot better."

Ilinykh and Katsalapov's Uzbek "Andijan" polka was highlighted by their smooth side-by-side ciruclar footwork (Level 3) and a rotational lift, but Katsalapov wobbled on the twizzles. The 2012 European bronze medalists collected 59.96 points.

"We skated well today. I [made some] mistakes on the twizzles, but it doesn't matter," Katsalapov said. "We had fun. We smiled during the whole program."

Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams of Canada came in fourth with 49.76 points, and Japan's Cathy Reed and Chris Reed landed in fifth with 48.33 points.